Holly Holm Attempts to End Fall From Grace, Save Title Hopes at UFC 246

Holly Holm

Getty Holly Holm after defeating Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia.

Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm will be entering the Octagon on Jan. 18 in the co-main event for UFC 246, and she will be standing opposite a woman that she has beaten once before, Raquel “Rocky” Pennington. Coming off a first-round TKO loss to arguably the greatest female fighter ever, Amanda Nunes, Holm is in search of a much-needed victory.

If The Preacher’s Daughter is to remain at the very top of the division, a victory over Rocky is paramount, especially if she is hoping to get another crack at becoming a two-time UFC champ. Since winning the bantamweight championship from Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, Holm has gone 2-5 in her last seven bouts. These include losing her title in her first defense, and three more failed attempts at securing gold once again.

UFC 246 takes place January 18 at 10 p.m. Eastern time. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.

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If Holm falls to Pennington, she would have a climb back to the top that many would consider extremely arduous. If a loss does come Holm’s way at UFC 246, she will be left with only one victory at bantamweight since winning the title.

Holm has faced the who’s who of women’s MMA in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, but she has been on the losing side of most of her significant marquee matchups.

If the 38-year-old is hoping to earn her fourth title shot since losing her bantamweight belt, winning this fight against Rocky is a crucial step.

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Holly Holm Dethrones the Queen and Becomes the Second Ever Women’s Bantamweight Champion

There have been many enthralling underdog wins in UFC history. Michael Bisping’s KO of Luke Rockhold, on just a few weeks’ notice, to win the middleweight championship at UFC 199 comes to mind. Another one is when Matt Serra knocked out welterweight superhero Georges St-Pierre back at UFC 69 and took his belt. However, Holm has something to say about winning a fight that many viewed as inconceivable.

Holly Holm defeating Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 is in the discussion as the greatest underdog win in the promotion’s history. Best Fight Odds had Ronda Rousey as a -1650 favorite and Holm as a +525 underdog by the start of the fight. That kind of disparity was due in large part to the public’s perception of Rousey’s unbeatable nature. At that point, Rowdy was regarded as the greatest female fighter ever, and there were conversations daily about her boxing Floyd Mayweather and defeating male UFC bantamweights. And by the time Holm got a chance at her, Rowdy had won her last three fights in a row with the total fight time spanning just over a minute. Holm was another lamb being led to slaughter.

So, when The Preacher’s Daughter obliterated Ronda Rousey with that head kick KO, the MMA world erupted, and Holm was instantly catapulted into stardom. It’s still viewed as one of the most famous wins, knockouts and underdog stories in UFC history and is something that Holm has carried with her into subsequent bouts.

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It Hasn’t Been the Storybook Career That Many Fans Expected After Holm’s Win Over Rousey

After her destruction of Rousey, Holm’s fame hit an all-time high. She had silenced the queen of MMA and was poised to accomplish many more feats in the organization. What fans weren’t expecting, however, was Holm’s defeat in her first title defense against Miesha Tate at UFC 196. Holm entered the cage as a solid favorite but left the cage without her belt in hand after she was choked out in the fifth round.

This loss was the start of a three-fight skid for The Preacher’s Daughter. At UFC on Fox: Holm vs. Schevchenko, Holm lost to the eventual Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko by unanimous decision.

Then, with the addition of the UFC women’s featherweight division, Holm moved up from bantamweight and fought for the inaugural title. There have only been a few cases in UFC history of fighters receiving a title shot after a loss, let alone two losses. However, Holm was a massive star and could still challenge any female in the world.

The Preacher’s Daughter fought Germaine de Randamie in the first-ever women’s featherweight bout and ultimately lost the decision. The fight was marred with controversy, but the history books will always have that match as a loss for Holm.

At this point, Holm had lost three in a row and was in dire need of a win. Holm got that victory when she dropped back down to the bantamweight division for her next fight and brutally finished Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia.

That win, coupled with her controversial loss to Germaine de Randamie, was enough to catapult Holm to her second try at UFC featherweight gold. This time, she was challenging Cris Cyborg, and after an exciting back-and-forth bout at UFC 219, the fight went to the judges’ scorecards. Once the decision was read out, Holm was hit with her second failed attempt at capturing the women’s featherweight strap.

The Preacher’s Daughter decided to stay at featherweight for her next bout, taking on Megan Anderson. After their battle at UFC 225, Holm found herself back in the win column, and once again, was ready to challenge for gold.

This time, she was eyeing her original belt. Holm dropped back down to bantamweight and challenged the double champ, Amanda Nunes. Nunes had won the bantamweight title by defeating the woman who took it from Holm, Meisha Tate. And she was ready to add another former champion to her win column, Holm.

This was Holm’s third attempt to become a two-time champion. It was also an opportunity to prove to her supporters, and to herself, that she was capable of winning gold again. However, when the cage shut at UFC 239, it only took four minutes and 10 seconds for Holm’s dreams to be dashed. Nunes finished her with a vicious head kick and follow-up strikes.

That was six months ago. On Jan. 18 at UFC 246, Holm will enter the Octagon once again in hopes of getting a win and kickstarting her path to another title shot. But, if Pennington beats her, The Preacher’s Daughter will face a climb back to the top that may be insurmountable for the 38-year-old fighter.

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